Smoke can be the most dangerous part of a house fire
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The fire that killed nine people Monday morning only burned 25 percent of the home, but the smoke filled the entire building, according to Memphis Fire Department.
The smoke is being blamed for most of the victims' deaths.
Memphis Fire Museum has a smoke room simulation they use to show people how quickly a small fire can produce enough smoke to cause serious problems, even death.
The simulation shows what would happen during a small kitchen fire started on an unattended stove. Within two minutes, the temperature inside the room is already 200 degrees.
"It's a matter of time, very quickly, every second counts," Lt. Wayne Cooke said.
Four minutes after the first flame, the temperature is at 350 degrees and smoke makes it nearly impossible to see or breathe in the room.
In the simulation, firefighters arrive five minutes after the fire started. They open the front door and thick black smoke pours out of the room.
"It's really thick. You can hold your hand up and not even see your hand inside the fire. Smoke is just that thick," Thomas Hubbert said.
Hubbert is the man in charge of teaching kids who come into the museum to touch each door before you open it and to get on the floor and crawl to safety.
"That home can be completely engulfed in flames in 5 to 6 minutes," Cooke said.
He said it's important that all families have a plan in place.
"Have a least two ways out of every room in your home: in your bedroom, have two ways out. Through a door or through a window."
Another concern during house fires is your furniture. Sofas, window curtains, and other household items produce toxic chemicals when they burn. That can make a fire in your home even more dangerous.
Cooke strongly recommends everyone practice different escape routes regularly, especially if you have children in the home.
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